Best smart plug 2019: control your appliances while you're out

Our pick of the best smart plugs is perfect for those who want the added security of scheduling lights to come on while they're away from home or never want to experience the fear of having left their hair straighteners on again

the best smart plug: wiser plug by drayton

On the hunt for the best smart plug going? Far from a gimmicky addition to the world of smart home tech, smart plugs offer a variety of handy functions intended to aid modern living. Plus, they can help reduce your energy consumption.

So, whether you're looking to schedule lighting while you're away from home to give the impression that someone's in; want the option to ensure a fan turns off automatically once you've drifted off to sleep; or never want to experience the fear of having left your hair straighteners on, again, these best smart plugs are the way to go.

Still not sure exactly what a smart plug is and what it does? You'll find everything you need to know over in our beginner's guide to smart plugs. Find out how smart plugs can change your life (for the better), too.

Interested in expanding your smart home? Head over to The Hub, our one-stop-shop for all things technology advice, information and (honest) reviews. 

What is the best smart plug?

The best smart plug is the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch. It works with Amazon, Apple and Google services, meaning it can slot readily into smart home setups and can monitor energy usage and provide recommendations for reducing your bills, as well as letting you set schedules and turn your appliances on and off from your phone. Plus, it's compatible with IFTTT, which is perfect for those looking to create a more complex smart home system.

A cheaper option, the Hive Active Smart Plug gets our vote, thanks to its simple yet effective design and functionality. Offering the option to control connected plug sockets from afar, as well as scheduling up to six different time slots daily, this model has all of your security and energy streamlining needs covered.

Plus, it connects easily to the wider Hive smart home system – much of which also comes highly recommended. While it's not essential that you remain brand loyal when building a smart home system – most devices are interconnectable – if you're looking for absolute ease, it's an option worth considering, in which case Hive is a well designed, practical and reliable brand to commit to. Read on to find out more, and to see all our smart plug picks.

Want more info on creating a wider smart home system? The following guides contain all the information you could ever need (and demonstrate the scope of product available form Hive):

How to buy the best smart plug

When it comes to buying the best smart plug, it's easy to assume that all models offer an almost identical function, but that's not quite true. In order to find a model that best suits your needs there are a few factors worth considering – all of which we've factored into our reviewing process. These include:

Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity

Most smart plugs operate via Wi-Fi, but there are a few instances in which you'll need to connect via Bluetooth instead. While Wi-Fi is the best option, if you live in an area with particularly awful WiFi speeds, you may benefit from opting for a Bluetooth model.

Zoning

If you're planning on investing in a number of smart plugs to streamline your use of energy, it's worth considering whether the model you're considering offers a zoning function. As the term suggests, this allows you to create handy plug 'zones,' which can be turned off, or scheduled, collectively. Think: all living room table lamps within one zone, for example.

Scheduling

If you're planning on using your smart plug to aid your home security set up – in most cases this will mean programming lights to come on, intermittently, while you're away from home – you'll need to ensure you're opting for a model that offers a scheduling function. 

While, of course, you can turn lights on and off, manually, via your smart phone if you opt for a model without a scheduling function, we imagine that, a few days into your holiday, you'd rather focus your attentions on downing Sangria that sorting out your home security.

Compatibility

The final consideration comes down to whether you're running the rest of your smart home system on Android (Alexa or Google Assistant) or iOS (Siri). In order to connect everything together, effectively, you'll need to ensure you opt for a compatible device.

The best smart plugs you can buy right now 

the best smart plug: Belkin WeMo smart plug

(Image: © Belkin WeMo smart plug)

1. Belkin WeMo Insight Switch

The best smart plug: it does it all

Specifications
Best for: Everything
Connectivity: 802.11n W-Fi (2.4GHz)
Zoning: Yes
Scheduling: Yes
Compatible with: Amazon Echo, Google Assistant and IFTTT
Reasons to buy
+Control appliances from your smartphone+Create schedules with ease+Monitor energy usage
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most affordable option available

The Belkin WeMo Insight Switch is the best all-round smart plug. While it's not the most affordable option available, it's more than worth the investment if you're serious about having a smart plug that does everything you'd expect it to, and more. Here are some of the reasons why we rate it so highly.

Control your electronic appliances from afar

The main draw of a smart plug for many is the ability to control electronic devices from afar. So, whether you're keen to maintain some control over the kids' TV watching schedule – even when you're not there – or want to put your mind at ease, safe in the knowledge that you did turn off the iron, this model from Belkin covers the basics. 

Set schedules

A step up from simply being able to control your appliances from afar, the WeMo Insight Switch allows you to set schedules. Perfect for helping reduce your energy usage – you can schedule all non-essential electronics to turn off when you leave the house, and turn back on when you return – schedules can also be used to enhance your home security by using smart plugs on lamps, giving the appearance that someone's home, even when they're not.

Plus, for the more tech savvy among us, there's the option to connect the WeMo to an external automator tool, such as IFTTT (If This Then That) which allows for more complex commands. 

Monitor energy usage

While, admittedly, you're not going to single-handedly save the planet by switching your appliances off at the socket when you're not using them, there is something to be said for being more conscious of your energy usage. With this in mind, the WeMo Insight Switch can help users identify where they're wasting the most energy and make changes, accordingly. 

Compatibility

Compatible with Amazon, Apple and Google, the WeMo Smart Plug should slip, seamlessly, into a wider smart home system.

Shop the full rang of smart plugs available from Ebuyers

the best smart plug: hive active smart plug

(Image: © John Lewis & Partners)

2. Hive Active Smart Plug

Best affordable smart plug: a no nonsense smart plug that's easy to set up, reliable and offers the option for zoning and scheduling

Specifications
Best for: All round smart plug
Connectivity: 802.11n W-Fi (2.4GHz)
Zoning: Yes
Scheduling: Yes
Compatible with: Amazon Echo, Google Assistant and IFTTT
Reasons to buy
+Option to zone or schedule smart plugs+Easily connects to a wider Hive smart home system+Compatible with a variety of smart systems
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly more expensive option

The only-just-second-best smart plug you can buy, there are a lot of reasons why we rate the Hive Active Smart Plug so highly. Here are some of them.

Switch on and off wherever you are

Whether you want the option to turn off lights, fans, electric heaters and more without having to get out of bed; or want to be able to check – wherever you are – that you did in fact turn off your hair straighteners, iron or whatever else, the ability to control a smart plug from your smart phone is a super handy feature. Thanks to the ease of the Hive system, this is easier than you might imagine.

Set schedules according to your requirements

Perfect for those looking for easy ways to increase their home security, the Hive Smart Active Plug allows users to schedule up to six separate time slots, daily, making it easier than ever to give burglars the impression that someone's home (even if they're not). Or, perhaps you want the slow cooker to turn on (or off) while you're at work, so dinner's ready when you get home? Or the coffee machine to make a brew just as your alarm goes off in the morning? Scheduling sorts it.

Connect to the wider Hive Smart Home System

Forming part of the wider – and equally recommended – Hive Smart Home System, makes opting for a smart plug from Hive the easiest option if you're looking to build your home set-up and want the guaranteed ease of committing to one, specific brand where quality and functionality is guaranteed. While this isn't essential – most smart product brands are interconnectable – we understand the desire of many to minimise hassle through brand loyalty.

Shop more smart plugs available from John Lewis & Partners

the best smart plug: my dlink smart plug DSP‑W115

(Image: © D-Link)

3. mydlink Wi‑Fi Smart Plug DSP‑W115

Best smart plug for zoning: set up systems that can be controlled with the click of a button

Specifications
Best for: Creating zones
Connectivity: 802.11n W-Fi (2.4GHz)
Zoning: Yes
Scheduling: Yes
Compatible with: Amazon Echo, Google Assistant and IFTTT
Reasons to buy
+Create zones and set schedules with ease+Compatible with a variety of smart assistants
Reasons to avoid
-D-Link don't have the largest range of smart home devices

Comparable, in many ways, to our top model, the mydlink Wi‑Fi Smart Plug DSP‑W115, does everything you'd expect a smart plug to do, and it does it well. The only thing preventing it from taking the top spot? D-Link don't have a particularly wide smart home range (yet), so if you're looking to build a wider smart home system you'll have to be prepared to control separate items from separate apps. Not the biggest problem in the world, but something worth considering if you're looking for efficiency.

That said, there are a lot of benefits to be enjoyed from investing in this model. These include:

Control your smart plug from your smart phone

As is standard with most smart plugs, it's easy to turn your plug on and off, from wherever you are, thanks to smart connectivity. In addition to being able to turn lights and other electronic devices on and off without having to get out of bed/get off the sofa; it's also a practical solution if your sockets are in hard-to-reach places. Think: stuck down behind the sofa or under a sideboard.

Create zones with ease

An essential for those looking to switch – whether gradually, or in one go – to a full set of smart plugs, the option to create zones with your smart plugs is perfect for those prioritising energy reduction. Simply turn your plugs off, in one fell swoop and you're doing your bit for the environment.

Browse more smart plugs available from Amazon

best smart plug: TP-Link WiFi Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring

(Image: © AO)

4. TP-Link WiFi Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring

Best smart plug for energy efficiency: a handy, smart solution looking to monitor their energy us

Specifications
Best for: Monitoring energy use
Connectivity: 802.11n W-Fi (2.4GHz)
Zoning: No
Scheduling: Yes
Compatible with: Amazon Echo, Google Assistant
Reasons to buy
+Monitor energy use+Set schedules with ease+Pre-set timers thanks to Away Mode
Reasons to avoid
-TP-Link don't have the largest range of smart home products

Interested in using smart plugs to monitor your energy usage? The TP-Link WiFi Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring could be the option for you. On top of the options for scheduling and controlling your smart plug from your smart phone, it offers the following features.

Monitor energy usage

Providing weekly and monthly feedback, as well as real time stats, this model is perfect for those looking to keep track of their energy usage. They say knowledge is power and once you know exactly how much energy each of your devices is using, it'll make it all the easier to look for ways to reduce it. Good for the planet and good for your pocket, this feature is a real winner.

Away mode 

Providing peace of mind for those who *sometimes* forget to turn off their appliances, this option from TP-Link comes complete with a countdown timer feature, which switches off running household appliances, automatically, if you have set a time limit prior to use.

Shop the full range of smart plugs available from AO

the best smart plug: Amazon Echo Smart Plug

(Image: © AO)

5. Amazon Smart Plug

Best smart plug for Alexa users: built by Amazon, this smart plug is designed with Alexa users in mind

Specifications
Best for: Alexa users
Connectivity: 802.11n W-Fi (2.4GHz)
Zoning: No
Scheduling: Yes
Compatible with: Amazon Echo
Reasons to buy
+Designed specifically for compatibility with Alexa products+Schedule with ease+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Only compatible with Alexa

If you're an Alexa user who's on a budget, the Amazon Smart Plug could be just what you've been looking for. While it may not come with all the bells and whistles of its competitors, this is a handy piece of kit that's perfect for those just beginning to break out into the world of smart home tech. Here's what we love about it.

Control your smart plugs through the Alexa app

Perfect for those already operating on the Amazon Alexa system, it's super simple to control your smart plugs via the Alexa app. Unlike other systems there's no need for any extra apps to clutter up your phone.

Build a smart home system with ease

On top of this, the fact that this smart plug model was designed, in house, by Amazon, means it's unlikely that you'll be met with any difficulties when connecting to your wider Amazon smart home system.

Set schedules

Much like many of the other smart plugs mentioned in this buying guide, it's super easy to schedule when your smart plugs turn devices on and off. That's your home security and hard to reach plug socket dilemmas solved. 

Browse more smart plugs available from Curry PC World

the best smart plug: wiser smart plug

(Image: © Drayton)

6.Drayton Wiser Smart Plug

Best smart plug for those building a Drayton Wiser smart home system: boost your connectivity

Specifications
Best for: Drayton Wiser users
Connectivity: 802.11n W-Fi (2.4GHz)
Zoning: Yes
Scheduling: Yes
Compatible with: Amazon Echo
Reasons to buy
+Connects to the wider Drayton Wiser smart home system with ease+Schedule up to eight time slots per day+Can expand the range for other Drayton Wiser products
Reasons to avoid
-Requires the Wiser Heat Hub

An ideal addition for those who have – or are building – a Wiser smart home system, the Wiser Smart Plug not only functions as a smart plug in its own right, but helps to expand the reach of other connected products, too. Here's everything you need to know.

Enhance an existing smart home system

A great investment for those already building a smart home system with Drayton Wiser, handily, this smart plug not only operates in its own right, but boosts the range of other smart products from the range, too.

Set schedules

Offering up to eight scheduling slots, daily, this model offers the most opportunity to turn devices on and off, that we've seen. Plus, you can switch your plugs on and off, as you wish, from your smartphone. 

Head over to Robert Dyas to browse more smart plugs

Looking to build a wider smart home system?